Antwi-Boasiako, K., Fallon, B., King, B., Trocmé, N. et Fluke, J. (2022). Understanding the overrepresentation of Black children in Ontario’s child welfare system: Perspectives from child welfare workers and community service providers. Child Abuse & Neglect, 123, 105425.
Background. The overrepresentation of Black children in the child welfare system is a social problem that has received longstanding attention in the United States, but has recently received increasing attention in Canada.
Objective. This qualitative study explores the findings of two quantitative studies (Antwi-Boasiako et al., 2020, 2021) in order to interpret them through the perspectives of child welfare workers and community service providers. The aim is to gain a deeper understanding on the potential factors that contribute to the overrepresentation of Black children in Ontario’s child welfare system.
Participants and setting. The study involved twenty-one child welfare workers from two child welfare organizations in Ontario serving lots of Black families and thirteen community service providers in Toronto.
Methods. Six focus groups were completed with thirty-four participants. Each of the focus groups was audio recorded and manually transcribed verbatim. Constant comparison analysis was used to analyze the transcribed data.
Results. Themes that emerged from the study include the following concerns: racism and bias from referral sources; racism and bias from child welfare workers; lack of cultural sensitivity; lack of workforce diversity/training; lack of culturally appropriate resources; assessment tools; duty to report; fear of liability; lack of collaboration; and poverty.
Conclusions. The results from this study reinforce the need to shift practice that acknowledges Black families as valuable stakeholders and experts of their own lives and involves them in the development and implementation of policies and practices that affect them.